COLD SPRING — Needing to finish ahead of Fergus Falls to win the Central Lakes Conference season championship, the Brainerd Warriors responded with a gritty effort and brought home the title from Tuesday’s meet at Rich Spring Golf Course.
Trailing the Otters by one point in the conference standings, Brainerd won Tuesday’s meet with a 317, sparked by Aaron Rich’s second-place 76 and Michael Foley’s tie for third place at 78. Fergus Falls finished sixth in Tuesday’s meet and slipped to third place in the final standings behind Brainerd and Alexandria.
It was the third CLC title in Brainerd boys golf program history. The Warriors also won in 2007 and 1979.
“They’ve worked really hard,” Warriors coach Brian Wallace said of his team. “They battled when we had terrible weather, and it’s really paid off with a conference title that happens very rarely.”
Tommy Olson’s 79 and Thomas Stoxen’s 84 were the other two low scores for Brainerd on Tuesday. TJ Perpich added an 86 and Nik Helland 90 to complete the Warriors’ scoring.
Foley captured conference season medalist honors at 13 over par. Other all-conference Warriors were Olson, fourth at 21 over; Rich, 10th at 28 over; and Stoxen, 12th at 32 over. All-conference golfers were determined by four rounds, and the number of strokes over par.
“To be in the top 14 guys in the conference, that says a lot for their skill level but obviously it takes a lot of determination to finish that well,” Wallace said. “Those four boys really deserve where they got to. Michael, to win the conference title as an individual, it really takes a lot of courage. He really goes after it, even when he’s down. He’s kind of a grinder. If he starts to play poorly he will grind his way back.”
The big test for the Warriors arrives Monday when they play in the Section 8-3A tournament at Greystone Golf Club in Sauk Centre. The top six teams advance to the final 18 holes Tuesday.
“I think doing well today, doing well in the conference meet under a pressure situation, will benefit them when it comes time for the section meet,” Wallace said, “especially after today when they knew they had to beat Fergus Falls to win the conference. Dealing with that pressure situation will help them when Monday comes.”
Tuesday’s team scores: 1-Brainerd 317, 2-Alexandria 320, 3-Sartell 324, 4-Willmar 326, 5-St. Cloud Tech 330, 6-Fergus Falls 334, 7-Sauk Rapids 348, 8-Rocori 351, 9-St. Cloud Apollo 378
Tuesday’s medalist: Nick Brundell (Alex) 73
Brainerd results: Aaron Rich 76, Michael Foley 78, Tommy Olson 79, Thomas Stoxen 84, TJ Perpich 86, Nik Helland 90
Final conference standings: 1-Brainerd 56, 2-Alexandria 52, 3-Fergus 47, 4-Tech 42, 5-Willmar 41, 6-Sartell 31, 7-Sauk Rapids 22, 8-Rocori 17, 9-Apollo 7
Conference season medalist: Michael Foley (Brd) 13-over par
Next: Brainerd in Section 8-3A tournament at Greystone Golf Course in Sauk Centre 10 a.m. Monday, top six teams return at 9 a.m. Tuesday.